On January 19, 2012 Canada, women’s sport and her family and friends lost a talented, inspirational young woman — Sarah Burke. Her official website (http://sarahburkeski.com/) described Sarah as a “snow industry icon”. She was “a freeskiing pioneer, six-time X Games gold medalist and … a legendary athlete, role model and an inspiration. As the first competitive female freeskier, she successfully lobbied the Winter X Games to include women in freeskiing events on equal standing. It is because of Sarah’s efforts that female winter athletes are some of the only athletes in the world to receive equal prize purses to that of men.” Sarah is also credited with paving the way for freestyle skiing to be included in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia for the first time. Even to the very end, Sarah was a trailblazer. Sarah also dedicated her life to giving back to others. She would coach others to help them excel in an up-and-coming sport. Her give back continues after her passing. At her request, her family donated organs to help others.
I admire people who are so passionate about their life and endeavour to make a difference in the world in their own, unique way. Although I was not very familiar with Sarah, I had heard of her accolades as she lived just outside the Metro Vancouver area. As I have learned more about how she led her life, both in and out of the sporting world, I realize the loss the world has experienced.
The world continues to need strong leaders who are also trailblazers. Their vision, passion, energy and persistence to exact change for the better cannot be replaced.
Are you a trailblazer, a leader or a person who likes to give back? Share your story.